Michigan State University has been no stranger to controversy and bad press recently.
The school was dealt what will assuredly be a lasting black eye after former Michigan State and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for pleading guilty to criminal sexual misconduct.
Many were furious with the school after it was revealed that some of Nassar’s transgressions took place on campus.
The backlash against MSU was furious enough that school president Lou Anna Simon resigned from her position despite earlier indications that her job was safe. Hours after she announced her resignation, Mark Hollis said he was leaving as the school’s athletic director.
Now, public ire might be directed toward the president of a more all-encompassing entity.
NCAA president Mark Emmert reportedly was alerted to Michigan State sexual assault cases as early as 2010, and opted to do nothing, according to the Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach.
If true, this would only add to the growing voice of discontent with whatever role Michigan State and the NCAA may have had in allowing Nassar to go unchecked as he sexually molested his victims.
Emmert was allegedly told of 37 cases of sexual assault involving MSU athletes in November 2010.
The fact that Emmert and the NCAA allegedly sat on their hands in 2010 only serves to make their current investigation into MSU and Nassar seem like a case of “too little, too late.”
Kathy Redmond, the founder of the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes, provided Auerbach a letter showing that she had sent a letter to Emmert detailing a growing problem at MSU involving athletes and sexual assault.
“For example, despite recent reports of sexual violence involving two Michigan State University basketball players, one of which admitted to raping the victim, neither man was charged criminally or even disciplined by the school,” part of Redmond’s letter to Emmert read.
It was hardly the only example provided.
“An earlier report of similar violence involving two other MSU basketball players also went un-redressed. In the past two years alone, 37 reports of sexual assault by MSU athletes have been reported, but not one disciplinary sanction was imposed by school officials against any of the men involved,” the letter also read.
Emmert had only been president of the NCAA for about six months by November 2010.
Redmond said she believed at the time that she had an ally in the new president.
“Mark Emmert was brand new, and he’d initially said, ‘One sexual assault is one too many,’” Redmond told The Athletic. “As soon as I heard that, I thought I might have an ally.”
There’s zero indication that Nassar’s monstrous behavior was among the allegations reported to Emmerich in 2010.
That being said, if MSU was bad enough to be singled out by Redmond, it would seem plausible that a cursory investigation into the culture that MSU was fostering — or, worse yet, turning a blind eye to — could have been changed.
If Emmert could’ve done anything to stop Nassar and the culture that may have enabled him, he needed to do it.
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